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Friday, August 14, 2015

Who is Your Obi-Wan Kenobi?

Who is Your Obi-Wan Kenobi?

Without him, Luke Skywalker wouldn’t be Luke Skywalker. Obi-Wan Kenobi’s presence awakened him to a larger story, taught him the ways of a Jedi, and steered him to his truer destiny.

Every hero’s journey–including yours–begins with a call out of the ordinary and into adventure. But as we take that step, we soon realize how alone we feel and how impossible the task appears. This is the moment in every great novel and movie where the seasoned sage appears to propel the hero forward. 

So who is the sage in your writing journey?

Yes, first and foremost we have God.

But God also provides human guidance. For writers, these are the sages strong enough to handle our hang-ups and meltdowns, brave enough to speak the hard realities others avoid, and loyal enough to read every draft of our work. They can think like your most passionate fan without being in awe of your gifts (which rules out your spouse and your mom). And they consistently offer ideas that lift your story to the next level by making your story sound even more like you. Though they can be your editor or agent, they often are ones not financially tied to the success of your book.

So who is your Obi-Wan Kenobi?

If you don’t have one yet, don’t despair. Perhaps you haven’t been ready until now. There’s an ancient saying: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Sometimes it’s hard for best-selling, proven authors to still see themselves as students. Yet no matter how accomplished we are, there’s always someone further down the road than us.

If you’re ready to be the student, ask God to bring a sage into your life and remain expectant. He will.

Equally important, there are people around you that desperately need wisdom. You may feel you have little to offer. Even so, be their sage. Not as a work-for-hire project or quid pro quo – but simply because at this moment you have eyes to see their story more clearly than they do.

The biggest trap is for writers to believe they are alone in this journey.

Do whatever it takes to find your Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Just don’t forget to be one too.

Allen Arnold loves the epic adventure God has set before him. From the mountains of Colorado, he leads Content & Resources for Ransomed Heart Ministries (led by John Eldredge). Before that, he spent 20 years in Christian Publishing - overseeing  the development of more than 500 novels as founder and Publisher of Thomas Nelson Fiction. He was awarded the ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. But that doesn't really describe the man. Allen savors time with his family, craves the beach, drinks salsa by the glass, is hooked on the TV series "Once Upon a Time" and is passionate about helping storytellers tell better stories from an awakened heart. 


  1. I've had two Obi-Wan Kenobis: Deb Raney and James Scott Bell. I learned so much through their teaching, answering questions, and their example. Thanks for this post, Allen. And my the Force be with you.

  2. I love the Star Wars analogy. So many people have helped me and continue to help me that I can't choose a single one to call my Obi-Wan. I love the idea that I can be that for somebody else. What a humbling thought.

  3. I've been fortunate to have had many who've helped me along my writing journey - many without even being aware. Sometimes all it took was a brief word to help me get or stay on track. Alton Ganksy and Susan May Warren were early encouragers. I try to make it a point to also reach out to those behind me who need help. Great thoughts! Thank you!

  4. I've had several people fill this role for me over the years! And I am beyond grateful for each of them, and for the unique season they were here for :) Great article, Allen! Thanks for sharing your wisdom and encouragement, as always.


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